On the night of October 12, 2015, my life, and the life of my family was changed forever. The actions of the defendant took the lives of my 19 year old daughter Kassidy, my 12 day old granddaughter Kimberlynn and 20 year old William Griggs. The defendant decided that his need to get high outweighed my daughter, granddaughter and boyfriend’s lives. From the moment we received the Nixle text concerning the crash, my wife knew it was them. I watched as my wife text, called, left messages on the phone and Face book and called every sheriff and hospital in a 50 mile radius. We prayed that it was not them, but it was. They had just been at our home 20 minutes prior to the crash, dropping off Kassidy’s oldest child Bradlee. They were going to see William’s grandfather in Joelton. William had not had contact with his family since being put out on his own at 16. The birth of Kimberlynn was changing that.
Kassidy and William had a rocky start to their adult lives. They couldn’t seem to catch a break in life; however, that was turning around for them. They had just had Bradlee for a week during his fall break from school. Bradlee had lived with us until they got their lives in order. It wouldn’t be long until he was with them full time. William worked two jobs, one in Waverly, TN at Sonic, the other in Hurricane Mills,TN at Arby’s. He was about to begin a third job at McDonalds in Waverly, TN where Kassidy had been working for nearly a year. On October 12, 2015, the defendant ensured that all their hopes and dreams would end.
Tammy and I cried out to God in prayer that this crash did not involve our kids; however, when the Humphreys and Houston County Sheriffs pulled into our driveway around 10:00 pm, we knew that would not be the case. Our family has been trying to put some reason to this, but there is none to be given. A senseless choice made by a career offender took the lives of our kids. Not one day goes by that I don’t think about them and there never will be. Our children were cut down before their lives could really begin. I constantly watch my wife cry every day. She and I both cried at many parts of the trial. I watched as the defendant’s family did not even shed a tear for my children as the pictures of their lifeless bodies were shown. The only crying from them came after the just and fair verdict was delivered. I truly believe that they thought he was walking out of that courtroom a free man.
My mind constantly wonders what they would be now as a family. I will never get to know. I blame myself…I gave them the car they died in. Now, we are raising not only our young sons, but Kassidy’s son as well. How do I explain this to a four year old? How do I tell him his mother was killed by a man on drugs? How do I rationalize to a four year old that the man had been in trouble his entire life, yet had never faced real consequences? How do I rationalize that to myself? My only comfort in this entire event is that Bradlee was not with them that night. He is our only physical connection to Kassidy. Although we are eternally grateful that we have Bradlee, our family will be forever broken. It is God’s grace, mercy and comfort that hold us together.
Many people ask me if I can forgive. In short, yes I can. Have I in this case…to be honest, not fully. I know that scripture tells us that if we can’t forgive others, God cannot forgive us. I will have to chance the forgiveness thing for a moment. Will I forgive…I have forgiven in the sense that I pray that the defendant finds God and truly repents for his actions; however, since the whole trial seemed like a joke to him and his family, I doubt that will ever happen to be honest. Any apology now from him would only be because he was found guilty and wants a lighter sentence. I will not buy it now or ever.
This impact statement asks us to give our opinion on what the sentence should be. My reply would never be granted because of state statutes concerning sentencing. The defendant can never pay for what he has done. What time in jail do you put on two young adult and an infant’s lives? I do; however, ask that the court give him the maxim sentence possible. Not just because it was my kids, but due to his lengthy record. This was not an accident, it was a crash caused by his needs. The defendant has been in and out of trouble since he was 18. Not one time did he have to face real consequences? No, not one time…it was always probation, license taken away or suspended sentences. He was driving on a Kentucky license with his ex-wife’s address and using his ex-wife’s husband’s truck, and why you ask? Because she was afraid he wouldn’t be able to pay child support. They knew what he was and what he would eventually do, but the love of money aided in my kid’s deaths. I can’t help but think that if he had faced real consequences prior to the crash that my kids would still be alive today.
We all have consequences…mine are that my youngest daughter, her boyfriend and my granddaughter are all dead. My sentence is a life sentence. I can’t visit them in jail or even get a letter or phone call from them. This case demands that consequences are delivered swiftly and severely. There should be no more “play time” for this defendant. God forgives us, and our eternal souls can be redeemed; however, if we sin, there are always consequences. We may have eternal life, but if we smoke the consequence is cancer, if we drink, the consequence is liver damage and if we break the law, the consequences should be what are prescribed by the law. In this case, the consequence should be the maximum sentence due to the defendant’s inability to stay straight long enough to drive home on October 12, 2015 along with his inability to simply follow the law his entire adult life. If he is on the streets, he will kill again. Please don’t let this happen to another family.
Written By: Joey Leonard, Kassidy's Dad